Avoid provoking others to wrong things
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all know that ye are disciples of mine, if ye have love amongst yourselves”. (John 13:34-35)
In your walk with Christ you are called to be at peace with others. You can make great progress in your walk with Christ if you treat others in the right way ie in love. Treating others in the right way also in includes not provoking them to anything bad. You don’t make fun of people on how they dress up to church. They could be under financial distress for all you know. You can speak to them privately or let the preacher speak to them separately after the service. This doesn’t stop at the Church. It doesn’t even matter if the other is not a Christian, you must never provoke them to sin, murder, suicide, despair etc. Hope you get my point on that.
The following scriptures clearly shows that provoking others to bad things is a sin in itself:
- Galatians 5:25-26 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
- Proverbs 16:29 A man of violence entices his neighbor And leads him in a way that is not good.
- 1 Kings 11:4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
- Mark 9:42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.
You may have heard of Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. What this means is to train a child in right way of life. What it doesn’t mean is to run your household screaming out orders to the kids every time. Instead it means to teach them all good things with regards to hygiene, eating, studying, sport, music and most importantly the Gospel.
However what I see in some Christian households is the parents yelling at each and every instance, at their kids. It doesn’t help the kids at all. Even in the army, just because they drill masters screaming loudly doesn’t mean that after the training all the armed forces will live a life of discipline. Not at all, some of the military personnel are known to have resentment against the drill sergeants which they express in being drunk and adulterous on an overseas tour in neutral territory. I’ve noticed some Christians that they despise the Christian faith because of ill-treatment at the hands of their parents. To speak to them of God the Father as a loving father brings in a lot of amazement because the only memory they have of their parents is the rudeness they were treated with. Now this is not to excuse sins of such people alright, they too have minds and can make a clear choice for themselves. However here the thing is not to be an irritant to others so that they do the wrong things in life.
The Bible is very clear with parents especially the fathers attitudes to the children:
- Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
- Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
This is not just limited to parent child relationships. There’s been an increase in divorces in the free world due to rudeness by either of the spouses. Before their marriages the spouses would be ultra kind to each other but like in a few months of being married everything changes. They start off with those silly marriage jokes on the internet or magazines. Some listen to their foolish friends and repeat those words to their spouses. What happens next is a sure and steady road that lead to divorce if there is no forgiveness and no change in bad behavior.
One must never waste time provoking older people either. You can make your point without losing your temper.
1 Timothy 5:1 Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers
So instead of provoking others to bad things, why not provoke them to good things. I don’t mean you flatter anyone. Instead you can speak calmly and peacefully exhorting others to live in hope and faith. It’s not that difficult. You don’t need to speak with fancy words, just speak naturally. Pray if you have difficulty in encouraging others. Follow the example of Jesus who encouraged his disciples after his resurrection.
Here are few scriptures to reflect on:
- Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
- Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works
- Daniel 12:3 Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.